Berhampur (Odisha) | Around 5,000 palm leaf manuscripts are lying in the archives of South Odisha Cultural Study Centre (SOCSC), Berhampur University, without proper conservation due to lack of funds.
The manuscripts, some dating back to the 18th century, were collected from different departments like Odia, History and regional study centres in the university and some individuals. We have neither funds nor staffers for their maintenance or preservation.
With limited resources, we are trying our best to preserve the palm leaf manuscripts, said SOCSC Director, D P Patnaik. The university has posted a copier who is now diligently copying the manuscripts in a notebook. Of the total manuscripts, around 500 were treated three years ago under the National Manuscript Mission, a central government programme, he said.
The university has sought the assistance of the University of Tubingen, Germany, for digitisation of the manuscripts but the talk has not progressed, he said. While the Odia manuscripts belong to Upendra Bhanja, most of the Sanskrit manuscripts are on tantra and ayurveda.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) panel that visited the university in April appreciated the preservation of the manuscripts.
We will request the National Manuscript Mission, New Delhi, to conserve them, said Vice-Chancellor Deepak Kumar Behera. We are also trying to explore resources for digitisation of the manuscripts, he said. Several old newspapers are also being housed at SOCSC.
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